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Fans of Christmas Tree Shops lament closing of Cape Cod landmark

Shoppers at the Christmas Tree Shops by the Sagamore Bridge are stocking up on paper party napkins and deck-chair cushions — looking forward to the joys of summer, but with a tinge of sadness.

The store, known for its massive thatched roof and windmill, is slated to close next month, along with another location in Falmouth, as part of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

On Wednesday, customers who emerged from the Bourne store stopped to take pictures on their way out. One person turned and just seemed to gaze up at the building, briefly, before moving on.

Penny Sutter said she had to pay a visit to the store on her way up to Boston from Provincetown. She said customers were talking about the closing as they waited in line at the register.

Penny Sutter said she had to pay a visit to the Christmas Tree Shops on her way from Provincetown to Boston before the Bourne store closes.
Jennette Barnes
Penny Sutter said she had to pay a visit to the Christmas Tree Shops on her way from Provincetown to Boston before the Bourne store closes.

“I think one of the best things I heard today, just standing in line, was somebody said, ‘This building is a landmark,’” she said. “Like, it's a gorgeous building on its own, besides that we're going to lose the Christmas Tree Shop, which we absolutely adore.”

Jude Shanahan and Nancee Peters were sitting on a bench outside the store, reminiscing about shopping there when they both worked for Air New England.

“It was a regional carrier. So we were down here all the time and always shopped,” said Shanahan, who drove down from the North Shore with Peters, who is visiting from Florida. “And we wouldn't come to the Cape without coming here.”

Sometimes they visited Cape Cod just to go to the Christmas Tree Shops.

“It’s sad,” she said, to see the store close.

The Bourne and Falmouth stores are among 10 locations listed for closure on a document filed in bankruptcy court. The document says the list is subject to change.

The store by the Sagamore Bridge is the smallest on the closure list, with just over 12,000 square feet of sales space compared to most others at 20,000 or more. Falmouth has about 15,000 square feet of sales space.

The stores will probably be shuttered by June 30; a document filed in court indicates that closing sales will conclude by that date.

For the time being, Cape locations in Hyannis, Orleans and West Dennis are staying open. The South Coast store, in Dartmouth, has been spared closing as well.

The thatched roof on the building in Bourne was once the largest in the world, and was installed by three brothers who came over from Ireland in 1986 for that purpose, according to a 1989 story in The New York Times.

It’s unclear what will happen to the building.

Outside the Bourne store Wednesday, Richard Wall of Kingston said he’d like to see it repurposed.

“Oh, it's just a shame,” he said of the closing. “You see a lot of good buildings that people enjoy. But now, with things going on, you never know what you're going to get.”

As for its future, he said, “I think it'd be a perfect museum, just for the Cape itself.”

Another shopper suggested a restaurant — if, that is, the store can’t stay the same.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.